Doctor’s experience with Winnipeg homeless inspires new book
A Winnipeg doctor set out to help the homeless with their medical needs, but after a decade on the job, he found himself sharing their stories in a new book.
Dr. Neil Craton is the author of Wisdom From the Homeless: Lessons a Doctor Learned at a Homeless Shelter. He told 680 CJOB Monday that his time with the clients of Winnipeg’s Siloam Mission gave him perspective on his own life.
“I’m like everyone else. I’m an affluent person, and frequently become obsessed with my own little problems,” he said.
“Then you go to Siloam and you see people who are persevering – and in fact showing joy – despite these terrible circumstances. It gives you perspective on your own life, on how really good so many people have it in North America.
“… and a chance to help these people take one step toward some more control of their lives.”
Craton said his book shares his experiences at the mission’s medical clinic, as well as some of the stories and lessons he’s learned from the people there.
The book also talks about Siloam Mission’s basis in Christianity, and Craton’s own spiritual journey throughout his time there – something he calls a fundamental part of why he started on his current path.
“I’d had a niggle in my spirit over many years that I should be providing care to people in need,” he said.
“I started doing shifts (at Siloam), just thinking I could help out a little bit, and within no time at all, it just felt like it was the right place to be. I just started having incredible experiences there that I thought about for a long time.”
The book, which features photography by Leah Denbok, is also a fundraiser for the mission, as all proceeds from its sale will go back to Siloam.
“The people at Siloam are the first step,” said Craton. “They have a saying: ‘hope begins with a meal.’ People are really welcomed there, really no matter what state they’re in.
“They’re shown care, love and consideration and given an opportunity to begin the journey of finding a home.”
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